Publication: Patterns and Drivers of Hydrological Drought in Costa Rica
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Web: ... ISSN:
Year: 2014 ISBN:
Language: Inglés External Link: ...
Type: Abstract
 
Summary:
Despite being a humid tropical country, droughts are recurrent phenomena in Costa Rica. In 2014 damages to agriculture caused by a major drought were estimated at 38 million USD which is already exceeding the damages of one of the most severe droughts in 1997/98. Therefore, in an attempt to assess droughts, time series analysis of 30 year daily flow records (17) of largely undisturbed rivers across Costa Rica was used to characterize temporal and spatial patterns of hydrological drought. Further, potentially important climatic and physiographic drivers were identified to further enhance understanding of drought controls in Costa Rica. In general, two different drought types were found in relation to the typical seasonality of climate and river flow: Severe droughts of long duration but low volume deficit during the dry season and minor droughts of short duration but high volume deficit in the wet season. The latter wet season drought can develop into a severe dry season drought and thus persist for longer than one year. The Central and North Pacific and Northern Caribbean were identified as the most drought-prone regions where drought risk is highest compared to regions in the south of Costa Rica. Multi-year droughts persisting over several years revealed a spatial development through time into regions that are usually less frequently affected. Climate and particularly hydrogeological characteristics – as can be expected – exerted a strong control on hydrological drought. However, there was also a remarkable spatial variability among identified key drivers which points at an assessment for each individual catchment and river with limited potential for generalization. Interestingly, hydrological drought did not everywhere exhibit a strong relation to Southern Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation indices. It can be concluded that historic data and drought monitoring are necessary to understand recent and contemporary drought development. Drought monitoring in combination with information on key drivers controlling hydrological drought in catchments can be useful to develop predictive models.
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